Last Shop Standing (2012; Blue Hippo Media; directed by Pip Piper) is an intriguing film that documents the breakneck rise of independent UK record shops in the 1960s, 1970s, and the 1980s; their downfall in the 21st century’s aughts; and their curious resurgence in a paradoxically digital age.
The film looks at the disappearance of nearly 2,000 record shops by 2009, following the disruptive technologies that accelerated their demise, such as the CD (the vinyl killer) and digital distribution (iTunes, cough). To put it more succinctly: “In the ’80s, there were more than 2200 UK independent record shops. By 2009, there were only 269 shops left.”
“You are never going to discover Captain Beefheart or the 13th Floor Elevators or the Velvet Underground in your local supermarket, ever.” — Richard Hawley, Musician.
The film also follows over 20 UK-based record shop owners and music industry pros; as well as a peculiar gaggle of musicians — including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Norman Cook, Billy Bragg, Nerina Pallot, Richard Hawley, and Clint Boon. Here, they expound on how the shops were (and remain to be) their primary method of music education, from the discovery of new bands, to the introduction of rare collectibles and new curios in underground music. There really is no substitute for the curated experience of an independent record shop, is there?
Last Shop Standing is based on the titular book by Graham Jones. A special screening will take place at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton on September 5th, Wednesday. Look for it on DVD come September 10th, and be sure to check out the trailer, embedded below. Prescription PR was kind enough to invite your bespectacled editor to the world premiere, but alas, being based in Washington, D.C., I won’t be able to make it! Sigh. The DVD will do just fine, of course.
Featured image: Record shop owner Spencer Hickman
News via James Parrish of Prescription PR